By Crystal Hendrix and Leigh Smith, Asheville, North Carolina
We’ve been together for seven years and live in Asheville, North Carolina with our 2-year-old daughter Quinn and our 7-month-old son Joe. I’m an elementary school librarian and Leigh is a kindergarten teacher who has been a stay-at-home mom since our daughter was born. Leigh grew up in Greensboro, and I grew up in western North Carolina, just a couple of hours away from where we now live.
When second parent adoptions were banned in North Carolina, we were just devastated. I carried both of our children. Leigh had gotten a second parent adoption for Quinn in 2009, but now that second parent adoptions are no longer granted in North Carolina, we can’t get her one for Joe. So, even though Leigh is his parent in every sense of the word, without the second parent adoption, she can’t perform many of the parental functions most parents take for granted on a daily basis.
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The single most important reason why we need a second parent adoption is because my parents do not recognize Leigh as a parent to our children. We fear that if something were to happen to me, Leigh might not be able to continue to be a parent to our kids. While we have taken every recommended legal action to ensure she would be able to be a parent to our children if something were to happen to me, the only way to guarantee Leigh’s continued relationship to our children is through second parent adoption.
Like any parents, we want to know that our children are safe from being taken away from the only home they’ve ever known. That’s why we’re part of the case the ACLU filed today challenging North Carolina’s second parent adoption ban. You can learn more about the case and about the other families like ours across North Carolina affected by the second parent adoption ban here.
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